The Indian Insurance Industry has seen substantial growth in recent years. The pandemic has further prompted a significant increase in the prioritization of technology initiatives, leading to an urgent deployment of digital solutions at insurers in India and across the world. Insurers now have the opportunity to play a key role by co-creating and adapting their offerings to the new digital environment. They need to partner with digital platforms and Insurtechs to enable more personalized management and significantly increase the penetration of insurance in the country.
To bridge this gap, Indian Insurance Industry (IIA), a non-profit industry organization, started in the middle of the pandemic. In just a few months, it had grown to 40 members including insurtech firms, re/insurers, and service providers and facilitates networking and focused thought leadership sessions. The association has also tied up with Xceedance as its principal sponsor and also set up more than seven international bridges with insurtech bodies across the globe including Singapore, New York, Tokyo, London, Israel, Italy and Africa.
In an exclusive chat with CXOToday, Shwetank Verma, Co-Founder, India Insurtech Association, sheds light on the insurtech landscape, trends focusing on the innovations enabled by Insurtechs and methods to increase collaboration between the insurers and Insurtech – which is essential to boost product innovation in this sector.
How is technology transforming the Insurance industry in India?
Technology is transforming every part of the business. For example, distribution is getting entrenched with technology as it makes distribution easier – both in direct to consumers as well as augmenting existing advisors and distribution channels with technology. Underwriting is getting smarter, but there is a lot to be done there. Operations are getting more digital, however, is it making employees lives better – the jury is out there. The effort is definitely being made to make customers lives better by automating internal processes.
In the light of the various regulations in the sector, what are the current challenges the sector is facing?
Regulations are all made in the best interest of the customer. They are also being updated with time to keep in line with technology advances. The industry is getting to a point where we need a unified approach to technology for all parties involved in the insurtech boom. As the insurtech industry body, we hope to address this soon.
How are startups revolutionizing the insurtech scenario in India?
India has seen more than 250 million in insurtech funding in India. The likes of Acko are starting to create new age insurance companies from scratch. The likes of Plum are revolutionizing the group health insurance space thereby improving India’s insurance penetration. Insurance product innovation such as crop insurance and drone insurance is also happening in India. At the end of the day, the impact is in terms of insurance penetration and lives being touched.
What are the current challenges and opportunities the Insurtech industry is facing in the post COVID era?
It is indeed a fact that every crisis throws interesting opportunities and insurance sector is no exception. Suddenly the old age face to face conversation to close a sale becomes redundant and communication and various transactions started taking place through digital tools and platforms. Lots of technology startups have propped up in this space. The challenges are broad based we know and a result of the shrinking economy. In any case, the general insurance will take a back seat. Policy making that makes insurance such as group health mandatory for certain sized companies will balance the challenges.
How IIA plans to elevate insurtech players in India and bridge the gap between insurtech and established players?
IIA would like to become the platform for all insurtech players in India. Hopefully by end of the year we will boast 100 members. We would also like to expand on our work with insurers. We are offering insurers platforms such as Collaborate day and Insurlab to help them crystallize their problem statements and help them connect with startups not only in India but globally. These initiatives will provide commercial value to both the startups and the established insurance players.
What is the road ahead for the insurtech sector?
The insurtech sector has a very bright road ahead. We believe insurtech is what fintech was 10 years ago. It is at the growth cusp. As a trillion dollar global industry, it was only a matter of time that technology would start seeping in. We believe we will soon see more than a billion dollar funding into the India insurtech industry.